Winter Squash and Kale Sauté with Almond Butter Sauce

This is a really great Fall dish, just right for the end of the Farmers’ Market season, when there is plenty of local Winter Squash and kale.  I love cubed and roasted Winter squash, especially delicata, so I roast a bunch at a time and use some for this meal and save the rest for snacking, salads, etc.  The original recipe was for stuffed Winter Squash, but I’ve embellished it by adding tempeh and quinoa.  Both versions are delicious – great for Thanksgiving!    

By the way, the original version for stuffed squash was given to me by a friend from Minnesota who got it from a cooking class at her local co-op.  I wish I knew the name of the author, but I can’t find the original recipe. 

  • 1 lb Winter Squash (I love delicata, but you can also use butternut or any other sweet squash you like)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 8-oz package of tempeh*, chopped
  • ¼ cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • ½-1 bunch kale or other green, chopped
  • About ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 3/4-1 cup hot water, or more if needed
  • 2 Tablespoons tamari, or more, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice or rice vinegar
  • Pinch curry powder (optional).can use ginger or garlic
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • Toasted almonds: chopped, slivered or sliced:  add before serving

Peel and seed the squash and chop it into 1/2 inch squares.  If you are using a squash with ridges, like delicata, don’t worry if a bit of the skin stays on.  Toss with olive oil and bake at 375 to 400 degrees until squash is tender to your liking.  Doneness depends on taste, ranging from just tender to browned and carmelized. 

While the squash is baking, heat oil in large skillet.  Sauté onion until lightly browned, then add the tempeh and continue to cook until browned.  Add mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes, or until tender.  Add the garlic and cook another minute or so.  Add greens and water, checking that there is enough water to cover the bottom of the skillet.  Cover and simmer for about 3-5 minutes, or until the greens begin to feel tender.  Meanwhile, combine the almond butter, hot water, tamari, lemon or vinegar and spices, if using.   Stir the roasted squash and quinoa into the kale/mushroom mixture, then stir in about half of the sauce, continuing to add more to taste.  Reserve any extra sauce for drizzling on top, or for a dipping sauce for veggies or another meal. Top with almonds and enjoy!   

*you can cook the tempeh as is, but poaching it in a flavored broth will give it a little more flavor and more tender texture.  Just slice the tempeh into thin slices (preferably on the diagonal), then stir together 3/4 cup water, 2 Tablespoons tamari, a splash of toasted sesame oil, and a bit of agave, if desired, in a small saucepan and add the sliced tempeh.  Simmer, covered,  until liquid has been absorbed.  If I’m in a rush, I sometimes cheat and crank the heat up – just be careful not to burn it to the pan! 

Variation: For stuffed squash, simply cut it in half, remove the seeds, drizzle a layer of olive oil on the cut surface and place it cut side down on a baking sheet with sides.  Bake at 375 to 400 degrees until soft.  It will release some liquid, which will burn and get sticky, so you’ll want to keep that on your baking sheet, rather than baked onto your oven…(Suggestion: while you have the oven on, roast an extra squash or two, then mash and freeze for butternut squash soup.)  Meanwhile, make the filling, with or without the tempeh and quinoa, and serve inside the squash half, topped with chopped or sliced almonds.

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